When Destiny: The Taken King launched, there was near-universal praise for the amount of content in the $40 package. A new campaign, a new raid, new multiplayer maps and modes. Lots and lots of new. Shortly after launch, small special events like Festival of the Lost and Sparrow Racing League gave players the sense that the future of Destiny was bright.
And then came the dark times.
Outside of Challenge Mode, which only slightly changed the mechanics of the The Taken King’s Raid, there was very little to keep players busy for months on end. An April update eventually made some major improvements to game mechanics and brought some older events like Prison of Elders into Year 2. But, even with that update, Destiny’s Year 2 felt pretty lacking when compared to the two expansion packs of Year 1.
"The live game and that calendar, over the past year, that was evolving," says Christopher Barrett, the game director of Rise of Iron. "We were very clear with the community, ‘Hey, we're trying a new thing here. We're going to have a series of free releases. We're going to try an experiment with Sparrow Racing League where we introduce the record book mechanic.’ That year we were experimenting and trying something new. Now that we have that year behind us, I think we can be more confident in what we thought was successful and what wasn't, which helps a lot."
Barrett believes that confidence will help the team be more focused, which in turn will result in more content for the community in Year 3, starting with Rise of Iron.
"We're all players ourselves," he says. "I certainly wished there was more content in the last year. We're going to do everything we can to get more out to the community so we have stuff to play as well. That's always the goal."
He also acknowledges that the community was, at times, left in the dark about what their expectations should be during Year 2.
"A lot of the anxiety ... from the community is that we could be more clear with what that roadmap is," says Barrett. "Letting people know that, even before Rise of Iron is out, that Sparrow Racing League is coming back and they can expect it and it's going to be bigger and better than before, with new stuff. I think it’s a different philosophy for us."
Bungie's slate of announced content (Festival of the Lost and the Winter update featuring Sparrow Racing) should carry Destiny through the end of the year. But beyond that? Perhaps we’ll see the revival of old raids like Vault of Glass?
"It's always consistently been in the top 10 list," says Barrett. "Since the second raid came out: ‘Hey, we want to go back and play older raids.’ The simple answer is it’s a matter of priority. If we spend time bringing that stuff, that means less new stuff we can build. For this fall, in Rise of Iron, we wanted new stuff. New new new. Let’s give new places to go, new raid, stuff like that. But we certainly hear that fans would love to have a reason to go back to some of the old raids. So we're absolutely considering it."